Touching up the paint in a room is a relatively easy task.

How to Improve Interior Paint Touch-Up Results

by Lisa Fritscher

Interior paint takes constant abuse from the activities of daily living. Whether your kids wrote on the baseboards or a delivery person scraped the wall, even the highest-quality paint eventually needs a touch-up. Although touch-up painting is quick and easy, it is important to follow a series of steps for the best results.


Wash the area that you believe needs to be repainted. Some spills, stains and marks are water soluble and will come off with a bit of elbow grease. If your walls have flat paint, skip this step. Flat paint absorbs water, creating a bigger mess. If the paint is peeling or flaking, remove large pieces with a putty knife or paint scraper, and then sand it smooth with a palm sander or block sander. Fill in holes or dents with spackling compound. Allow the compound to dry thoroughly and then sand it smooth.

Paint Matching

If you have the original can of paint and it has not been more than a few months, the colors should match fairly well. Over time, however, paint breaks down in a can. Paint on the walls often fades. For best results, scrape a small sample of the current paint off the wall and take it to a paint store for color matching. When you return home, use an artist’s brush to dab a few drops on the wall. Allow the paint to dry and assess the results.

Painting Techniques

A mini roller is easy to use and generally provides the best results. Thin water-based latex paint with water or oil-based paint with a commercial paint thinner at a ratio of approximately 10 percent thinner to 90 percent paint. Dip the roller in the paint and roll most of it out in a paint tray. Build up very thin layers of paint until it matches the wall. Overlap the edges slightly onto the existing paint. Step back to survey your work and, if necessary, dab the wet paint several times with a small brush to mimic the existing wall texture.


Most interior trim is coated with semigloss or high-gloss paint. It is nearly impossible to touch up trim surfaces, as each new coat enhances the glossiness. Scuff up the existing paint slightly with a palm sander or block sander to help the new paint adhere, and repaint the entire trim piece using long, smooth strokes. You do not need to repaint all the trim in the room, as different lighting and shadow effects cause individual trim pieces to look slightly different from each other.

About the Author

Lisa Fritscher is a freelance writer specializing in disabled adventure travel. She spent 15 years working for Central Florida theme parks and frequently travels with her disabled father. Fritscher's work can be found in both print and online mediums, including She holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of South Florida.

Photo Credits

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